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The Great Projects

Amazon Rainforest Conservation

Volunteer in Peru and have a lasting impact on Amazon conservation efforts, in the Manu National park – one of the most diverse environments on earth.

About the Project

As a volunteer on this project you will get the opportunity to live and work alongside conservation researchers and community development staff to understand what they do on a daily basis by contributing to their conservation efforts first hand.

Upon arrival at the project, which is situated on the fringe of Manú National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and only a short journey from the Inca capital of Cusco you will learn what it takes to be part of a dedicated conservation team through an initial training process. This experience will help to educate you and give you a better understanding of conservation science and community development in the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon is the largest and most species-rich rainforest in the world, covering a staggering 5.5 million km2 and due to its varied topography; the Manú Biosphere Reserve has one of highest levels of biodiversity of any national park. It is home to over 1000 species of birds, as well as larger wildlife including jaguar, puma, giant otter, giant anteater, giant armadillo and two and three-toed sloth. There are also 14 species of monkey, including marmoset, capuchin, tamarin, squirrel monkey, spider monkey and woolly monkey species.

Volunteering in South America you are sure to have an unforgettable experience and will enjoy playing an integral part in conservation research and sustainable community initiatives. Doing so involves tasks such as data-collection, animal-tracking and survey-recording. By taking part in this project you will spend time working with fascinating wildlife and alongside local people, striving to create a truly sustainable Amazon environment. 

This project is at the forefront of conservation and research in one of the most ecologically important ecosystems in the world. The work undertaken here consists mainly of garnering data and honing techniques, which are vitally important to the future of not just Manu National Park but also the entire Amazon rainforest ecosystem. The project works towards:

Conservation Research: The project explores and supports the value of the Amazon rainforest through scientific research of its biodiversity and complex ecosystems. By studying endangered species and discovering new ones, the project is able to inform government decision making and help protect the rainforest from irreversible destruction.

Community Initiatives: Manu currently supports four native ethnic groups: the Machiguenga, the Mascho-Piro, the Yaminahua and the Amahuaca. These peoples are considered part of Manu's ecosystem and are left to use the area as they please. Manu provide local communities with the finance and training needed to develop sustainable enterprises as well as education. This empowers people to create a positive future and diverts labour and resources away from damaging practices (such as logging and mining).

Prior To Arrival

If you are from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia or most of the EU you do not require a visa to come to Peru as a tourist as a stay of around 6 months is granted on arrival for tourism purposes.

You will need to arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco on the start date of your project between 7am - 5pm where you will be picked up by a project representative and transferred to your hostel in Cusco. From here you will be transferred to every stage of the project.

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Typical day

Day 1-2 - The Adventure Begins:

Arrive at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, Cusco and transfer to temporary accommodation at a hostel in Cusco. You will spend the day acclimatising to the altitude and can explore the city. In the early evening there is a briefing where you will meet your fellow volunteers and learn more about the project itself. The next day you will get a brief registration in the morning and then you will be able to explore Cusco and experience Andean culture. This day is also a great opportunity to ensure you have everything you need for the project and if not pick it up in Cusco. In the evening you will be back at the hotel for a good night's sleep before travelling into the jungle the following morning.

Day 3 - Transfer to the Cloud Forest Lodge:

Today you will begin your trip to the Manu Biosphere over the Andes, through the cloud forest and into lowland Amazon. Upon arrival into the cloud forest you will have the opportunity to learn about the local eco systems and hopefully meet the national bird of Peru, the Cock of the Rock. You will stay in lodge accommodation for the night.

Day 4 - Transfer to Manu National Park:

This is your final transfer to the project site which is a 3 hour journey through the foothills of the Andes and includes a visit to a cocoa plantation on the way. The final part of this journey is a 45 minute boat ride on the meandering Amazonas river. Upon arrival you will settle into your accommodation before heading out into the jungle for your first taste of Amazonian living.

Day 5-9 - Training Period:

On these days you will learn about the aims of the project and the conservation tasks that take place, as well as learn how to live in the amazon jungle safely. Education will also centre on indigenous species and how to recognise them. Training will be mainly field-based, but will also involve regular presentations.

Day 10-31 - Project Days:

Activities during these days will vary according to which of the smaller projects volunteers are assigned to day by day. There are usually morning and afternoon work sessions, interspersed with meals and breaks with Sunday being a rest day. Activities during these days include:

Amphibians and reptile monitoring at night:

Amphibians are excellent indicator species as they are extremely vulnerable to changes in their environment. Studying the way they use regenerating forest is therefore vital for assessing its conservation value. As a volunteer you will carry out transect surveys, walking slowly along a 100m trail through the forest looking for amphibians and reptiles. 

Avian monitoring:

The field site location is one of the best places for bird watching in the world. As bird species composition and diversity can signify many different things about the forest, such as forest type, structure, age, health, and level and type of human impact you will conduct early morning transects along the reserve to listen and look for birds. This is important as not only is the ecology of many of these tropical foothill species poorly known, but the true value of regenerating forest for birds is understudied.

Mammal Monitoring Project:

Here the aim is to understand the importance of regenerating rainforest as habitat for different mammal species. So far more than 40 large mammal species have been recorded at the field location through survey methods such as transects, camera traps and tracking. Camera traps have suggested that 13 individual jaguars have been recorded at the field site since 2010. 

Forest Regeneration Project:

The history of the MLC reserve makes it a natural research lab for investigating the effects of different land uses on regenerating forest. There are three parts to our forest regeneration project: leaf litter collection where fallen organic matter is sorted, dried and weighed, tree phenology and canopy photos. This is part of an ongoing project in partnership with Oxford University. Monitoring changes in the biomass levels within the MLC will allow us to gather information about the regeneration rate of the forest and determine whether the reserves of carbon in the forest are changing. 

Biogardens:

The project works specifically with local mothers to combat malnutrition, by providing resources and knowledge to build biogardens that produce nutritious, fresh food for families, and extra income through surplus crops. So far volunteers and local mothers have created over 50 family biogardens, and have helped build six institutional biogardens.

Reforestation:

Help to create, plant, monitor and map reforestation plots. Volunteers have helped turn 17 hectares of degraded land into agroforestry plots which has enabled the planting of 10,000 plantains and 3,000 trees.

Day 32-33 - Final Days:

Transfer back to Cusco, spend the night in a city hostel and the next day transfer back to the airport for your return flights. 

Details on Arrival

Start Dates


2017 - May 1st, May 29th, June 26th, July 24th, August 21st, September 18th, October 16th, November 13th, December 11th

2018 - January 8th, February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, April 30th, May 28th, June 25th, July 12th, July 23rd, August 9th, August 20th, September 17th, October 15th, November 12th, December 10th

All start dates are subject to availability. Please contact us to check whether your preferred start date is still available!

Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation Amazon Rainforest Conservation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
This project involves a fair amount of manual work, mainly involved in construction tasks. There are also many treks involved in the programme, and so a fairly high level of fitness is advised. No specific tasks or qualifications are required to partake in this project, simply a positive attitude, ability to work in a team and commitment to the cause and its aims.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 - 16:00

Any questions? Just ask. We at The Great Projects are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

On Sundays you will be free to relax and enjoy some fun activities with the other volunteers! The project is located in a very remote area so it is not possible to travel away from the project site, but on Sunday's you will be able to go on walks, play football, read a book, or simply relax in the hammocks!

Hiking
Sports

Included Services

What's included?
What's included in the price of the project? 

  • Cusco airport collection
  • 2 nights lodging in a hostel in Cusco at programme start
  • Transfers between Cusco and Manu National Park
  • An overnight stay in the cloud forest
  • Full training & orientation programme
  • Accommodation at the MLC in Manu National Park
  • Three meals per day
  • An additional night's lodging in Cusco at the programme's end
Airport Pickup
You will need to arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco on the start date of your project between 7am - 5pm where you will be picked up by a project representative and transferred to your hostel in Cusco. From here you will be transferred to every stage of the project.
Accommodation
For the first two nights and last night in Cusco, you will stay in a comfortable hostel within the city centre in a twin room with en-suite bathroom and breakfast provided. The third night will be spent in a beautiful lodge within the cloud forest.

Accommodation whilst on the project at Manu National Park consists of comfortable and airy pods, which each feature two beds, bed linen, mosquito net and a magnificent view of the rainforest. There are toilets, solar-powered showers and a solar-powered internet connection.
Guesthouse Bedroom (Single) Youth Hostel
Food & Beverages
Food and snack packages are provided three times a day, and will consist of local style meals. This will include rice, vegetables, meat and fish and potatoes.
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,765.00
3 weeks
$2,130.00
4 weeks
$2,495.00
5 weeks
$2,860.00
6 weeks
$3,225.00
7 weeks
$3,589.00
10 weeks (max. stay)
$4,684.00
Average fees
$675.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Manu National Park/Peru between 2 weeks and 10 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Peru

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Peru. Please check the visa regulations for Peru.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Peru and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Peru.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Peru.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Velazco Astete (CUZ) in Cuzco. We assist you to find cheap flights to Peru.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Peru provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Peru you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Peru.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Peru while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Cusco, Manu National Park, Peru

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